Sunday 23 June 2019

Who Is Vera Kelly?

Finished June 9
Who Is Very Kelly? by Rosalie Knecht

This historical novel follows a young woman through a difficult few years in her late teens, and in her early twenties as a CIA spy in Argentina as it builds to a revolution. The young Vera is in high school in 1957 in Chevy Chase Maryland struggling with her feelings and an incident when she'd taken medication from her mother's bathroom and ended up in the hospital. Things deteriorate after that between her and her mother and culminate with an argument that causes her to run away to a more sympathetic relative, but her mother calls the police saying she stole the car. Vera is relegated to a young offenders facility and finishes her high school years there with no further contact from her mother. After her release, she begins to build a life for herself in New York City, gaining skills and finding her way.
In the other timeline, Vera is in Argentina in 1966, posing as a Canadian student at the university there, and listening to the conversations captured by various bugs that she and others have planted in both government buildings and private residences. As she follows the instructions from her handler, she eventually finds herself in the middle of a revolution where she is in danger and must use whatever resources she can muster to find her way out and stay safe.
At the heart of both these situations is Vera's sexuality as a lesbian woman. She had a crush on a friend in high school, and her sexuality is part of the issue with her relationship with her mother. In her current situation, her sexuality is both a potential danger and a potential to get closer to a target. In both timelines, it is mostly hidden from those around her.
I liked Vera's resiliency and resourcefulness. She thinks ahead, and takes opportunities as they arise. I'd like to learn what her life was like after this book. She's a very interesting character.

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